BOSTON — Imagine the fan reaction Friday in TD Garden if former Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins crouched down and started defending close friend and ex-teammate Rajon Rondo in the backcourt.
Several times this season the 6-foot-10, 262-pound Perkins has defended the Thunder's opposing point guard.
He does this to temporarily disrupt the other team's offense, which presumably hasn't spent much time prepping for Perkins defending the point.
“Get them out of their rhythm,” Perkins explained.
In addition to the shock value, Perkins does this to ignite his internal fire.
“I kind of get going. I get excited about doing that,” Perkins admitted. “(Thunder assistant) Coach (Maurice) Cheeks always is messing with me saying, ‘You're a big man who always wanted to be a guard your whole life, right?' I do get excited because it's a challenge to get down and slide and get myself going a little bit.”
Alas, don't expect to see Perkins challenging Rondo in Friday's 6:30 p.m. contest between the Thunder (9-3) and Celtics (6-6).
Perkins uses this ploy against scoring point guards, not those who prioritize passing. No one delivers the ball more frequently than Rondo, who has 10-plus assists in 35 straight games, which stands third on the NBA's all-time list behind Magic Johnson (46) and John Stockton (37).
“I really don't plan on doing it (against Rondo),” Perkins said. “You've got to pick and choose. Guards who try to be facilitators and try to look to pass first are the one you've got to lay back off of, but the scoring guards are the ones you kind of pick up because then you kind of take away from their offense because it becomes an individual or iso game.”
Thunder at Boston Celtics
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: TD Garden, Boston
TV: FSOK (Cox 37/HD 722, DirecTV 679, Dish 416, U-verse 754/HD 1754); NBA TV (Cox 256/HD 726, DirecTV 216, Dish 156, U-verse 632/HD 1632)
Radio: WWLS-FM 98.1, WWLS-AM 640
Three things to know
* The Thunder has won three straight games at the TD Garden and is 4-4 all-time against the Boston Celtics.
* Former Thunder forward Jeff Green is averaging 21.8 minutes, 7.9 points and 2.8 rebounds in a backup role with Boston.
* Point guard Rajon Rondo has 10-plus assists in 35 straight games, the third-longest streak in NBA history.